Lavender (lavandula angustifolia) is a popular herb that is cultivated for its distinctively floral scent. This low-maintenance plant thrives in hot, arid environments, which makes it a good option for landscapes that are prone to dryness. But it is well-suited for a wide range of other settings as well.
Knowing the basics of caring for your lavender ensures that your plants thrive in your garden.
Why You Should Consider Growing It
Although lavender requires a bit more maintenance than many other plants, the additional work is worthwhile. Lavender bushes produce delicate, light purple blossoms as well as scented leaves and flowers that are used in cooking, medicine, and DIY crafts.
Read on for just a few of the many advantages of including lavender in your backyard garden.
Makes Tasty Food and Beverages
Many professional and hobby chefs use lavender in their cooking. It lends a wonderful flavor to cookies, cakes, and other treats, especially when combined with lemon flavor. You can also infuse simple syrups for cocktails or lemonades with lavender.
Provides a Variety of Health Benefits
The relaxing aroma of lavender can ease anxiety and promote mental calm. It can help alleviate stress, sadness, and migraines. Additionally, if processed properly, it has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities.
Excellent Bug Repellent
Lavender, along with other members of the mint family, is effective in warding off pests such as mosquitoes, fleas, moths, and ticks.
Lavender not only successfully wards off pesky insects but also attracts helpful pollinators to its aromatic blossoms. Lavender will attract bees, butterflies, and other beneficial creatures to your yard.
Best Time to Plant
If you’re going to grow lavender plants in pots, get them ready mid to late spring or early autumn. If you are planning to grow lavender from seed, you should sow it between February and April.
The best time to plant lavender is in April or May when the soil has naturally warmed up. Never plant lavender during the winter when young plants are susceptible to decay in cold, damp soils.
As with other plants, the success of your lavender garden will depend on the variety you choose and the plant’s environment. Although most lavender is deemed hardy in USDA Zones 5a through 9a, this plant is not reliable enough to be used as a hedge.
Lavender plants can endure a variety of growing environments, but they need warm, well-drained soil and direct sunlight to grow effectively.
Below are some general requirements when caring for lavender plants.
Once established, lavender is a hardy plant that is very drought-resistant. Keep your lavender plants well-watered throughout their first growing season after planting. After that, they can withstand prolonged droughts. However, receiving too much water might result in fungal disease and root rot.
Amount of Sun
The easiest approach to ensure plenty of buds and large, full bushes of lavender is to place them in full sun. Avoid planting them where they will be shaded by big plants or trees since they don’t tolerate much (if any) shade.
With lavender, less is more when it comes to fertilizer. Going light on the organic matter and fertilizer will stimulate a larger concentration of oils in the plants and thus a stronger scent. Add a small amount of compost into the hole when planting your lavender, and your plant is good to go (and grow).
Beyond this, feeding is not necessary and may actually reduce your plant’s overall strength.
In addition to the fundamental care guidance given above, there are a few more things that you can do to assist the growth of your lavender plants.
Lavender plants benefit from regular trimming since it keeps them looking tidy and promotes new development. Low-growing cultivars may be trimmed down to their fresh growth, while bigger varieties can be reduced in size by approximately a third.
Cut off spent flowers to promote the formation of new ones. To provide food for seed-eating birds like goldfinches, you may leave them in place until the blooming season comes to an end.
Check plant labels (or cultivar descriptions online) before purchasing if you intend to keep the plant outdoors during the winter since some varieties are hardier than others. The most resilient varieties are English lavender (lavandula angustifolia) and its hybrids.
Never forget that plants in containers are more vulnerable to the cold since their roots aren’t as well-insulated as those in the ground. Move containerized lavender plants to a protected area during the winter to protect them from severe weather.